GP case police may open grave in Malta

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The Independent Online
BRITISH MURDER squad detectives have flown to Malta to discuss the possible exhumation of a former patient of Dr Harold Shipman, the Manchester GP charged with four murders.

A team from Greater Manchester Police are due to meet their Maltese counterparts with a view to exhuming the body of Marie Antoinette Fernley, 53, who was buried in her home town of Paolo after dying in Hyde, Tameside, three years ago.

The exhumation would be the seventh in what has spiralled into the biggest suspicious death inquiry in the force's history, with police investigating the deaths of more than 77 of Dr Shipman's former patients.

Officers will meet Mrs Fernley's relatives today to discuss the matter. Both Greater Manchester Police and Mrs Fernley's relatives, who live in Denton, Greater Manchester, declined to comment. It is understood police are preparing to exhume three other bodies buried in Tameside.

Dr Shipman, aged 54, of Mottram, is remanded in custody charged with murdering former Tameside mayoress Kathleen Grundy, 81, and forging her pounds 300,000 will to make himself the sole beneficiary. He is also accused of murdering Joan Melia and Winifred Mellor, both 73, and Bianka Pomfret, 49. Earlier this month the bodies of Ivy Lomas, 63, and Marie Quinn, 67, were exhumed from cemeteries in Hyde.